People in Barnsley who require a scan for osteoporosis are benefitting from an improved experience due to the arrival of a new high-tech Axial DXA scanner at Mount Vernon Hospital.
Osteoporosis is the most common disease of the bone and its incidence is rising rapidly as the population increases. Over 300,000 patients are admitted to hospitals in the UK with fragility fractures each year, costing the NHS around £2 billion.
Osteoporosis is diagnosed on the level of bone mass, which is measured as Bone Mineral Density (BMD). The World Health Organisation and The International Osteoporosis Foundation recommend that the diagnosis of osteoporosis is done using a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanner.
The new DXA scanner, GE Prodigy machine, is being used by the falls and osteoporosis team, which is provided by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
The new scanner offers a lateral view enabling the team to diagnose vertebral fractures and monitor any new fractures allowing sign posting to the best treatment options for the patient.
By recognising fractures at this early stage patients are less likely to need another appointment for an x-ray reducing the amount of exposure to radiation and the anxiety follow-up appointments may cause.
James Townsend, business operations officer in the community management team, added, "This is a cost effective service, which in turn reduces the pressure on secondary care resources and offers patients convenient and appropriate healthcare solutions within the community. The service is provided by the osteoporosis nurse specialist working with the support of a consultant physician, the falls and bone health service, and is already accepting direct referrals from both primary and secondary care."
The new scanner has been in place for just a few weeks, but already staff have noticed a significant improvement in the service they offer.